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Humanities Institute Graduate Student Fellowships

Applications for the 2023-2024 fellowship will open Monday, October 10, 2022. 

The Institute for the Humanities, founded in 1987, promotes interdisciplinary research and discourse in the humanities and the arts. The central function of the institute is to form an intellectual community of faculty and graduate student fellows who spend an academic year in residence in the institute, pursuing their research and participating in a cross-disciplinary, weekly seminar. We seek applicants working in humanities research areas who demonstrate capacity to contribute to and gain from interdisciplinary exchange through the fellows seminar.

The institute has a faculty director and small staff who manage its programming and facilitates research by the resident fellows. To the core community formed by the faculty and graduate student fellows, we add several distinguished visiting fellows who typically join us for anywhere from one week to a full term.

Graduate Student Fellowship
The graduate student fellowship is ten months long (September 1 – June 30). Graduate student fellows are provided with a shared office and desktop computer at the institute’s home in the Thayer Academic Building. Graduate student fellows receive a stipend (the stipend for the 2022-23 year was $34,00 and is anticipated to increase in 2023-24) paid September through June near the end of each month. The institute pays each fellow’s candidacy tuition and all required fees for the fall and winter terms. Gradcare health insurance is provided for twelve months, if needed, September 1 through August 31.

If a fellow defends in the spring/summer term following their fellowship (2023), the institute will provide candidacy tuition for the defense and all fees except the registration fee (~$80). If tuition is elected in order to defend in the spring/summer term and the fellow fails to successfully defend the institute reserves the right to rescind the tuition waiver with the financial responsibility falling to the fellow themself.

Selection of the graduate student fellows is determined by a committee of U-M faculty, chaired by the institute’s director.


  1. Graduate student fellows are required to be in residence at the institute for the academic year (September 1 – May 31)
  2. Graduate student fellows are required to attend the weekly two-hour fellows seminar on Wednesdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm (noon).

If selected as a fellow, graduate students must accept or decline the fellowship within the specified time period in the fellowship offer letter. Fellowship awards may not be deferred to a future year under any circumstances.


  1. Applicants must be University of Michigan students and have attained candidacy at the time of application or provide a letter from their department vouching for the fact that they will have successfully completed all of the requirements for candidacy prior to the start of the fellowship.
  2. Former or current holders of Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships are not eligible for Institute for the Humanities’ graduate student fellowships. Current applicants may apply for both awards. A student who is awarded both fellowships must choose one or the other by the respective deadline.
  3. Awardees may not accept a teaching appointment, accept another stipend or award, or hold any other fellowships during the institute's ten-month fellowship period (September 1 - June 30), or portion therein.
  4. Graduate student fellows are precluded from holding a GSI or GSRA appointment at any point during the fellowship period (September 1 - June 30).

Selection Criteria

  1. Promise of dissertation project and strength of academic record.
  2. Evidence of progress on the dissertation project, typically one or two chapters of the dissertation drafted and accepted or near acceptance at the time of application.
  3. Interest in interdisciplinary work, as shown by the dissertation project and the applicant’s breadth of academic experience.
  4. Humanities content of the project.
  5. Two letters of support:
    1. One letter must be from the dissertation chair or one co-chair.
    2. One letter from a faculty member in a department or program other than the student’s home department (a letter of support from a faculty member holding a joint appointment that includes the home department is acceptable). The second letter may be from a dissertation co-chair if the faculty member's unit(s) is completely different from the co-chair in 1 (above). Letters may come from faculty at other universities.
  6. Please note: The selection committee seeks to achieve variety and balance of disciplines in selecting the fellows.

Application Process and Deadline

All fellowship applications must be submitted through InterfolioThe application deadline is Monday, January 9, 2023 at 5pm

Overview of Application Process

  • The application is composed of 2 parts: 
    • Part 1: Complete application submitted through Interfolio.
    • Part 2: Recommendation letters must be submitted through Interfolio directly by recommenders.
  • The deadline for receipt of applications and recommendation letters is Monday, January 9, 2023 at 5pm. 

Required Elements of the Application:

  1. Fellowship Application Cover Sheet (within Interfolio submission process)
  2. Current curriculum vitae (previous education, all colleges and universities attended, including U-M, major field, years, degrees awarded and date of degree expected, major scholarships and fellowships you have previously held-award title, institution, and years, major academic recognition, honors, and memberships-include honor societies, professional papers and presentations)
  3. Dissertation description statement (1500 word limit with some attention to your methodology and to the significance of the project)
  4. Graduate education description (1000 word limit with particular reference to the breadth of your experience and interests, and why you think you would profit intellectually from your association with the Humanities Institute)
  5. Writing sample (6000 word limit, excluding footnotes & bibliographies. The writing sample is normally a chapter of the dissertation that is substantially polished. If providing musical or visual work samples, place them on a website and then provide a URL link as a file)
  6. Graduate transcripts (unofficial; upload pdf)
  7. Other attachments (use only to add proof of candidacy letter from department when it is not listed on transcript).

Requirements/Instructions for Part 2: Recommendation Letter portion of application:

  1. Two recommendation letters are required.
  2. One recommendation letter must be from your dissertation chair/co-chair.
  3. The second recommendation must be from a faculty member in another department or program other than the student’s home department. A recommendation from a faculty member holding a joint appointment that includes the student’s home department is allowed. The second letter may be from a dissertation co-chair if the faculty member's unit(s) is completely different from the co-chair in 2 (above). For graduate students in joint degree programs, the two letters may be from each of the joint degree units, at least one letter must be from the dissertation chair/co-chair.  Letters may also come from faculty at other universities.
  4. Recommendation letters must be uploaded by the individual recommender through Interfolio by Monday, January 9, 2023 at 5pm.